2005-11-17 @ 12:57 a.m.
It was 15 years ago today, that my plane touched down from San Francisco to my new life on the East Coast. I had lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of my life and really loved it, but it had been getting so expensive rent-wise and the traffic was a nightmare and there were earthquakes, incidents of road rage, serial killers, droughts, so when I lost my voice, due to stress at my last job as a sales executive at Gannett Newspapers, I decided to move East with my mother...back to the area where she grew up.
The reason? I knew the rents were considerably less (you could rent a 3 bedroom/2 ba. house for the same price as a small 1 bedroom apartment in California). We also had family in the area, and for me that really meant a lot. We had always lived a long way from our immediate family, so I had no idea what it felt like to have Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle or a bar-b-que with my cousins. It was all totally foreign to me and I really yearned for that. Being with family. Namely, because living with my parents had always been like living in a war zone.
I had also been out of work in California for about 6 months and was nearly out of money. I had worked a few odd jobs, such as delivering flowers on Motherís Day (ha! The irony!) and packaging calendars at Pomegranate Printing. Also at the time, my mom was just getting ready to divorce her fourth husband, so we had started talking about moving back East. She wanted to. She didnít want to. She wanted to. She didnít want to. I didnít force her to do anything. I could have moved back in with my Dad, if I wanted to, since he had just married the filipino mail order whore and she didnít quite have him under her full evil spell quite yet.
But my mom finally decided that it would be a good idea, since it would be a lot cheaper to live and she would also be able to get the emotional support of her sister, brother and niece. So her husband agreed to drive the moving truck back and I would stay with my Dad for about a week until I flew back.
I really savored that week I spent with my Dad, because we always got along really well together and during that last week, we had a great time together, leaving the little whore to fend for herself and driving to all MY favorite places like the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco
and up the Pacific Coast Highway, hitting all the beautiful beaches between Marin and Sonoma County. We also drove over through the Wine Country and then up to Robin Williamís estate up above Napa Valley to bid a fond adieu. I even got out and took one last look at the initials my Manhattan friend ďGĒ had carved in a tree right next to the entrance to make sure they were still there... ďG.V. + ďW.K.Ē (or whatever). It was a great week. I loved being with my Dad and being treated like a princess. My Dad was sad of course that I was moving 3000 miles away, but I knew we would be talking by phone. Of course, what I didnít know was that the evil mail order whore was probably already researching ways to transfer money out of my Dadís bank account over to her boyfriend in the Philippines. But one things for sure, Iím sure she was secretly doing the little Snoopy happy dance as my departure was getting closer, since I would no longer be there to protect by Dadís interest.
But I looked at my move as a new start. I knew I would miss California, because even though I had been born in Florida, I considered California to be my home state. I had lived there 2/3 of my life, having been educated there, grown up reading Herb Caen in the San Francisco Chronicle, hiked the hills of Marin, walked the nude beaches of Stinson, rode on cable cars, saw the hippies hitchhiking along the sides of Highway 101, bumped into rock stars and movie stars at the shopping mall (Janice Joplin, Hewey Lewis, Robin Williams, Eric Idle, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Laura Dern) and thought it was normal, watched movies being filmed everywhere, knew that all my classmates grew pot in their backyards or closets, thought that everyone voted democrat and tried to save redwood trees, and named their kids Skye and Rain. I grew up in Marin. We were like the epicenter for all the flaky things that came out of California. They even wrote a book about it called "The Serial" and rather amazingly, when they made it into a movie, I was IN the movie with Martin Mull and Sally Kellerman and Tuesday Welds. How did I manage that? Writing skills. The local newspaper had a Pie-in-the-Sky contest where you could wish for anything you wanted, and I wished that I could be in "The Serial" which was to film around Marin during the summer. And I wrote the entry in Marin-Speak, which was sort of an early version of Valley Girl talk. Like Totally. And out of over 10,000 entries they picked 5 winners. I was one of them. It was a fun experience, but we filmed out on a ferry boat around San Francisco Bay for about 12 hours and I got the most severe sunburn of my entire life. I looked Mexican, which was quite an amazing feat considering I'm the palest of Irish girls (see above).
But what was I talking about? Oh...moving back east. So when the day of my trip to the East Coast finally came, my two cats at the time, Maddie and Lucy were out in my Dad's garage. Not sure what genius had decided to put them out there. Ok, it was me. But when I went to give them their cat relaxant pill for the plane trip, they both freaked out and jumped up in the rafters of my Dad's garage and we couldn't get them down. So my Dad and I had to try and work in tandem...with me standing on one ladder yelling and poking at them with a rake to try and scare them off the planks of wood near the ceiling and then he was trying to catch them as they ran towards him. And then Lucy jumped clear over his head to an even higher piece of wood, and then I freaked out even more because I told my Dad I would not leave without my cats. We did finally manage to get them down off the rafters and I got them in my bedroom and then they went under the beds and I couldn't get to them out of there either. And then when I finally got them out of there, I couldn't get them to swallow their damn pills. They kept patooeying them up. But we finally got the cat pills into both of them and shoved them into their containers and drove the 75 miles to the airport and they yowled very LOUDLY all the way down...in stereo.
Naturally I was worried about them being put in the belly of the plane, since they were my babies, but the airlines said they would hand carry them to the location and that they were very safe. And amazingly like a 1/2 mile before the airport, the cats had finally fallen asleep. So I said tearful good-bye to my little babies and some airline person came out and carried them away. And then I said good-bye to my Dad and the whore. She didn't seem too broken up. She was probably thinking...aha! Now I can transfer the millions to Ricardo so he can start his sugar plantation over in the Philippines and "L" will never know the difference. I did pretty well on the crying until the plane took off up over the San Francisco Bay and I realized I was leaving behind not only the Bay Area and my friends, but a whole way of life. I quietly sobbed until we got up over the Sierra Mountains. But for some reason, the permanence of my decision just really never sunk in until much, much later.
My flight got delayed in Chicago...now there's a surprise, huh? And I had to call my Aunt in NY to tell her that instead of arriving at 10:30, I wouldn't get there until 1:30. She was her usual sweet self and said she would have a sandwich and glass of milk ready for me. I got really claustrophobic flying in the plane that night. It was great arriving here though and seeing her smiling face. I felt guilty about having her come out so late, because my aunt is the type of person who goes to bed about 10 p.m., but there she was smiling and happy to see me. When we went to get my luggage, I was very anxiously waiting for someone to come walking out with my cat carrying cases. I waited and waited. My suitcases dropped onto the luggage carousal. And then suddenly I heard all this loud yowling and then ya-thunk!!!!! The assholes here on the east coast had just put my cats in their carrier on the luggage carousal and let them come up over the top and slam against the metal sideboards. I was furious and the cats were in high freakout modes. I felt so bad for them. I did complain to some luggage handler standing nearby, but they didn't seem particularly impressed by my angst. And I had paid almost $100 for their air fare. And then for them to be tossed and banged like that! Those dickheads! I say, why don't we put one of their 3 year olds in a plastic carrier and send them through the same process and see how they feel about it.
And so, when I got back to my aunt's house we let the cats out and they immediately climbed up in the rafters in her garage and never came down in three days. They didn't even eat.
But probably the funniest thing about moving to the East coast in November from California was the strange look I got from nearly everyone and the question...."WHY??????" Nobody could figure out why anyone would ever want to move from California to here for ANY reason. And I could see their point, especially moving here in November, because the weather just totally sucks from about November to April. I don't think I saw more than about 6 sunny days in six months and I really started to question my decision. Because California has like 330 sunny days a year, and this place only has about 65 sunny days a year. And that was difficult. But the question continued to plague me. WHY DID YOU MOVE HERE?? So I finally wrote a humor piece for the local alternative newspaper to put it to rest forever. Because as much as I loved California, it sure wasn't perfect. Because as much as you'll be hearing me grumble about the gray skies and snow this winter, you'll never hear me complain about the traffic, the earthquakes, droughts, the high rents or a lunkhead governor called Ah-nold. And look how close I am to the city that doesn't sleep. Yee-haw!
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty